Five Must-See Arts and Culture Events This Week in Metro Phoenix

We know: The beginning of the work week sucks. But if you take a quick look at the calendar, you'll see we're off to a pretty good week of art events, sporting events, dance parties, and more. Here are our must-see events from now to the weekend . . .

Tuesday, April 2: "Creature - Man - Nature" @ Mesa Contemporary Arts Carolyn Lavender, Monica Aissa Martinez, and Mary Shindell are no strangers to collaborating with one another. The three artists are all fixtures in the Phoenix arts community. Though their individual styles and media are very different, the imagery they've created for their latest three-woman show, "Creature - Man - Nature," creates a common bond.

According to the artists, Lavender will present her latest drawings of woodland creatures in constructed landscapes, Martinez will show her intricate portraits and studies of the human form, and Shindell will explore the textures and movements of plant forms through sculpture and mixed media. -- Claire Lawton

See also: - Announcing the 2013 Big Brain Finalists - A Survival Guide to Phoenix Film Festival 2013

Wednesday, April 3: La Cage aux Folles @ Phoenix Theatre Watching Robin Williams and Nathan Lane portray a gay couple attempting to act straight to impress their son's fiancée's parents in The Birdcage is pretty hilarious. Lane's drag queen alter ego Starina is as poignant and memorable as his girlish scream. Tempting as it is to burst into a chorus of "We Are Family," we should note that the flick is an adaptation of a 1978 foreign film, which is based on a French play. Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman morphed that play into the musical La Cage aux Folles, which translates to "the cage of mad women."

Williams and Lane's characters are based on Georges and Albin, two crazies in their own right. The movie parallels the musical pretty closely, and (spoiler alert) eventually leads to a happy ending.

To catch a live performance of the glitzy musical comedy, head to Phoenix Theatre. -- Melissa Fossum

See also: La Cage aux Folles from Phoenix Theatre Tastes as Good as It Looks

Thursday, April 4: Urban Tactics Symposium Day One @ Burton Barr Central Library This month, ASU's School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning sets the stage for local creative types, academics, and urban planners for a week of discussion and brainstorming. From Thursday, April 4, to Saturday, April 13, Phoenix Urban Design Week will present workshops, lectures, a film screening, a community gathering, and a celebration of food at a variety of venues in Tempe and Phoenix.

"Ultimately, this week's event is for that business owner that wants more foot traffic coming into their store, it's for that young professional that wants alternative means of transportation, it's for that citizen that wants positive change to occur in their community through smart planning and good design," says Aaron Kimberlin of the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning.

On the schedule you'll find Jeff Speck's walkability workshop at Burton Barr Central Library, a screening of Safwat Saleem and Robert Kilman's Phoenix: City of the Future at FilmBar, and The Third Biannual Symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts at ASU's Tempe campus, and more. -- Claire Lawton

Thursday, April 4: The Spectacular Now Screening @ Harkins Scottsdale 101 Certainly, Phoenix isn't the biggest of movie towns, but Bird City has served as shooting grounds for such notable flicks as Psycho, Everything Must Go, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Couple its silver screen history with the annual Phoenix Film Festival, and there's plenty of fodder for local film buffs.

The 13th edition of the fest promises more than 150 indie flicks, including programming from the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival, PFF's goosebump-inducing festival-within-a-festival counterpart. The festival opens Thursday, April 4, with the 7:30 p.m. premiere of James Ponsoldt's opposites-attract feature The Spectacular Now. -- Becky Bartkowski

Friday, April 5: Caramelpalooza 2013 @ UNION at Biltmore Fashion Park Dentists be damned, Chow Bella and Smeeks' Caramelpalooza is back. In its fourth year, the sweets-centric showdown features wrapped-up goodies from 20 local confectioners. Among a slew of notable names presenting sugary delights at the bonbon bonanza are Muñeca Mexicana's Minerva Orduño Rincón (who blogs for Chow Bella when she isn't making authentic Mexican treats), Cupcake Wars winner Brady Breese from Urban Cookies Bakeshop, and Monica Castillo of CenPho ice creamery Churn.

Each candy-making competitor will have 350 pieces of caramel-y treats on-hand for the judges' and your tasting pleasure. The sure-to-be sticky sitch starts up at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at UNION at Biltmore Fashion Park. Proceeds go to the Arizona Humane Society. Keep an eye on www.chowbellaphx.com for updates. -- Becky Bartkowski

Check out more things to do today (and everyday) in our Calendar section ...

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